By Rob Horgan and Caitlin Quinn
A BRITISH expat is facing bankruptcy after a bank dished out €52,000 of her money to a fraudster.
Louise Reardon, 74, is now struggling to pay her mortgage and fears she will be left homeless despite winning an eight-year legal tussle with Cajamar.
The bank was found guilty of negligence by Almeria’s penal court in May for cashing four fraudulent cheques, signed by a ‘friend’ of Reardon in 2007.
Despite being ruled ‘responsible’ by the judge, Cajamar is refusing to pay, insisting it is ‘not obligated to repay the money’.
It comes despite the crook – fellow Brit Roy de Gannes, 61 – being convicted of fraud and given a two-and-a-half year prison sentence at the same hearing.
He fraudulently cashed four cheques to the full amount, after stealing blank cheques from Reardon’s chequebook.
The forged signatures, seen by the Olive Press, certainly look nothing like Reardon’s signature on record at the bank.
“This whole episode has been absolutely heartbreaking,” Reardon, originally from Surrey, told the Olive Press.
“They gave my money away without my permission and now they are taking my life away too.”
The expat, who has lived in Almeria since 2005, added: “I can’t believe that after an eight-year battle the bank is still not accepting responsibility.”
A spokesman for the bank confirmed the sentence, but insisted it was not required to cough up unless a civil court ruled in her favour. Incredibly, Reardon has a €160,000 mortgage left with Cajamar, but has no money to pay it.
Extended last year until she is 95, she believes she will never see justice, and will soon be forced to leave the home due to defaulting on payments.
While friends and family have supported her up until now, she has now solicited the help of consumer group FACUA to help recoup her money.